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between russia and the united states over things like syria, edward snowden and missile defense got a lot worse now over ukraine. craig? >> those winter olympics seem like they happened so, so long ago now. nbc's jim maceda for us in moscow, jim, thank you. let's turn now to nbc's chief global correspondent, bill neely, who's in crimea. >> reporter: the crisis here in crimea is deepening. but so, too, worries of an imminent russian takeover. we have seen russian boots on the ground here today, well-armed, well-disciplined men ringing key sites. they're at the interior ministry with rocket-propelled grenades. they're ringing crimea's parliament, machine guns on the ground in a show of force and they're also at crimea's main military airport. there overnight, up to a dozen russian aleutian transport planes brought in, including russian attack helicopters. ukraine's defense minister says around 6,000 additional russian troops have arrived. no confirmation of that. he calls it an invasion, whether you agree with that word or not, it certainly is an intervention. and the new ukrainian -- untes
or aggression with all due respect to secretary of state kerry, but more of an act of self defense from his point of view, from putin's point of view, the new western or pro-western government in kiev is posing an existential threat to crimea and it's an essential war mortar port and base for the black sea fleet and he doesn't seem a bit affect bd i the criticism from abroad. putin doesn't seem to -- he doesn't seem to believe that the u.s. or its allies have the leverage to hurt him, especially when he sees the kind of reaction coming from russians out in the streets here in moscow and st. petersburg today where tens of demonstrated this support of putin's actions in ukraine with more pro-putin demonstrations scheduled in the days ahead. so, putin's apparently struck a chord here at home despite all of the criticism. craig? >> tens of thousands, jim, and also, with protests there, were they largely peaceful? >> reporter: yes, yes, they were largely peaceful. just goes to show you that the -- there is a huge slice of society in russia that does respond, that does -- where this situation rea
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